Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Congressman Chris Murphy today held a press conference at Tulmeadow Farm in Simsbury urging Congress to act on relief for farmers who have been impacted -- both directly and indirectly -- by the summer's nationwide drought.
While Connecticut already provides the highest level of state support for its dairy farmers through its model safety net program funded through the Community Investment Act, the drought is impacting the state's farmers because its causing a nationwide shortage of feed for livestock. Governor Malloy and Congressman Murphy said that passage of a federal Farm Bill will help cushion the impact of the drought and provide necessary relief for local farmers, who are seeing the price of feed dramatically rise.
"With the shortage of feed, farmers who depend on grains from the west to supplement the diet of their herds are being unnecessarily squeezed," Governor Malloy said. "We applaud President Obama and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack for their efforts to provide emergency loans and other measures for drought-stricken farmers, but what we really need is for Congress to be responsible and pass the Senate Farm Bill to ensure that these services are available for farmers, both in Connecticut and nationwide."
"Families are already facing tough economic challenges," continued Governor Malloy. "Rising prices at the supermarket because of inaction in Congress will only add insult to injury."
"A good farm bill means good things for Connecticut, like funding for low-income hunger programs and conservation partnerships that help our farmers stay healthy and in business," Congressman Murphy said. "But a Farm Bill is even more important for our state during this historic and crippling drought, and it's simply inexcusable that Congress would fail to do whatever it can to insulate Northeastern farmers from its worst effects."
"The national drought is placing enormous pressure on Connecticut's dairy industry, drastically driving up the cost of supplemental feeds to unsustainable levels," Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky said.
The Senate Farm Bill extends a disaster relief program aimed at livestock producers that expired at the end of 2011. While the U.S. Senate approved the disaster aid package, Republican leadership in the House did not call the bill for a vote prior to adjourning earlier this month. As a result of the inaction, aid is not likely to be approved until Congress returns in September.